Malta Lawmakers Expected to Pass Cannabis Legalization Bill

A cannabis legalization bill in Malta is expected to be formally approved by lawmakers today.

Full story after the jump.

Lawmakers in Malta are expected to approve a law today to allow the personal cultivation and consumption of cannabis, Reuters reports. The move follows a similar plan announced by the government of Luxembourg last October.

Malta’s law will allow adults to grow up to four plants and possess up to seven grams of cannabis. Smoking cannabis in public will remain outlawed and individuals caught consuming cannabis in front of children will be subject to fines between 300 and 500 euros ($340-$564), the report says.

In an op-ed in the Times of Malta last week, Equality Minister Owen Bonnici, who promoted the legislation, said “there is broad agreement” in the nation that the policy of “arresting and taking to court people who decide, out of their own volition, to make personal use of cannabis” should end.

“The government is in no way urging adults to resort to cannabis use or promoting a cannabis culture. The government always urges people to make healthier choices. But if an adult, out of free volition, decides to make use of cannabis, he or she must have a safe and regularized route from where the cannabis can be obtained.” Bonnici, “Opinion: Cannabis reform: Why the law should be changed,” Dec. 7, 2021

The bill is opposed by the national center-right party, the medical association, and the church.

In the op-ed, Bonnici noted that illicit cannabis sales in Malta will remain “a very serious violation of the law, punishable with mandatory imprisonment” but that the reforms “will bring a change for the better in our society by means of this unprecedented effort in harm reduction within a regularized context.”

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